The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming the workplace. And while it is creating a multitude of opportunities, it is also posing a number of challenges for innovative manufacturers, such as strategic-skills management.
According to a 2016 World Economic Forum report, The Future of Jobs, more than a third of the skills that will be considered essential in 2020 aren’t required for workers who are currently employed. In other words, the skill profiles of several kinds of jobs will change drastically in just a few years. This means that businesses need to be concerned about building their employees’ skills right now, before the consequences of inaction are felt. Industry 4.0 employees will need a new, specific skill set. This blog post will give you a better idea of which skills are being sought after by innovative manufacturers and how you can help your workforce develop them.
Collaborating and working in teams will become especially important in the coming years. So, the labor force of the future will need to learn how to work with experts from various fields. On any given project, employees may have to work with specialists in automation, continuous improvement, software development and productivity specialists, among others (Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, 2017). Being able to share knowledge and influence others, as well as emotional intelligence will also be skills in demand (World Economic Forum, 2016). Each worker’s ability to adapt will also be very important. Industry 4.0 is going to generate major changes and, while certain practices may make the transition easier (see How Innovative Manufacturers Manage Change for more information on this topic), adaptability and willingness to change will be critical factors for a successful workforce.
An appetite for innovation
Technological innovation has become a must in the manufacturing sector. This means that innovative businesses are on the lookout for employees who see innovation as a priority, creative people who question the status quo. Just as manufacturers need to constantly revamp the products they sell, they also need to innovate when it comes to the way they work. Because of this, employees must be creative in their approaches to improving internal processes (Hecklau et al., 2016).
As discussed in the article entitled Jobs of the Future, the Industry 4.0 labor force comes from fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence, metadata and the Internet of Objects, all requiring cutting-edge knowledge and in-depth skills related to new technologies. Automating production is a game-changer: jobs and tasks that were once manual and repetitive are now automated and more complex, which means problems that may occur are harder to resolve. Innovative manufacturers are searching more and more for people with exceptional problem-solving skills (Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, 2017). On top of these skills, Industry 4.0 workers must also be well versed in computer security and compatibility. Recent technological advances have meant that innovative manufacturers can access a huge amount of data, commonly known as big data. Companies need to identify talented individuals who will be tasked with making sense of this data and using it in the best ways possible (Hecklau et al., 2016).
How can we build these skills?
It is relatively easy to list the skills that are needed to remain competitive in this Industry 4.0 era. What is more difficult is figuring out how to bridge the gap between in-house workplace skills and new ones that are needed. Since attracting new workers represents a significant challenge for innovative manufacturers, it is important to leverage the ability of people currently on staff to innovate and change (Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, 2017). Working more closely with educational institutions to prepare the next generation is critical. Mentoring, coaching and training super users are three promising ways to address this new challenge (Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, 2017).
Download this guide to learn more about developing your employees’ skills in the Industry 4.0 era!
We have an increasingly clear idea of what future jobs and skills will look like. Adaptability, collaboration, innovation, creativity, complex problem-solving skills and computer knowledge are becoming key to innovative manufacturers. Workers currently on staff need to adapt to this new reality and start building their skills immediately in order to meet market needs. They can become your greatest allies during this transformation generated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Make sure they learn and build the skills they need to succeed!